Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Kentucky Universities Walk Tightrope With DP Benefits

As protesters gather to demonstrate against the offering of DP benefits to same-sex employees of Kentucky's public universities, the universities find themselves walking a tightrope to get around Kentucky's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. According to an Attorney General's opinion, the universities must offer the plans to all unmarried employees, whether gay or straight, to avoid running afoul of the Kentucky Constitution. At issue is the state's ban on same-sex marriages, which reads:

Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Kentucky. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.

The state's Attorney General released an opinion earlier this summer which said universities could offer DP benefits only if they didn't condition the benefits on a legal status "substantially similar to that of marriage" because that would constitute the recognition of a legal status in contravention of the Kentucky ban on same-sex marriages. It should be pointed out that both the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville are relying on funds other than state funds to fund the DP benefits plans. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, some lawmakers plan to renew legislative efforts to bar the DP benefits during a special session the governor is calling next month.

Hat tip to Indiana Law Blog.


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